Avoiding Jesus, Answers for Skeptics, Cynics, and the Curious

I became acquainted with Michael Green in 1970 from reading his book Evangelism In The Early Church. It was thorough, biblical, and just what I needed at that time in my studies and spiritual life. His credentials are outstanding, from a Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, where he teaches evangelism and New Testament Studies, to Regent College, Vancouver where he is professor of evangelism.

Avoiding Jesus is a book that you will enjoy reading, at least from the view of knowing how to answer skeptics, cynics and the curious. Green, who has ministered globally, states that no matter where he is, he finds that men and women tend to come up with the same answers and almost universally is the notion that “Oh, but all religions lead to the same God.” “If not that,” said Green, “then ‘Oh, I have not time for religion.'” Most the responses range from shallow, to escapist, to not wanting to take the time to investigate the truth of Christianity or any other religion.

It makes an enormous difference if there is a God or not, says Green. We cannot bury our heads in the sand. I would add, we cannot do the same by not knowing how to share the Gospel with those kinds of people.

This book contains 12 responses, excuses, or attempts to ignore the truth. More specifically: I’m not the religious kind. You can’t believe in God these days. All religions lead to God. I can do my best. No one can do more. When you’re dead, you’re dead.

You will find him responding to the scientist who sees no need for God: “There is nothing in the scientific method that can either demonstrate God’s existence or disprove it. But for what it is worth, the basic presupposition of the scientific method strongly supports the existence of the mind behind matter.” Or to the person who says “if you are right about Jesus, are other religions all wrong?” To which Green says, “By no means.” But you will not find God revealed in any other religion in fully personal terms who rescues us from sins and self-centeredness. The idea “I must earn or pay something for my salvation” is present in one way or another in all other religions. There is a universal feeling that we must do something to earn our salvation. Green responds by using Jesus’ description of our human condition. The good religious Pharisees failed at earning God’s pleasure, forgiveness, and salvation.

After going through argument after argument with the skeptics and cynics, Green concludes, “If, in Jesus, God himself has come to look for us, it clearly will not do to imagine that as long as we are sincere, it does not matter what we believe. Nor will doing our best solve our problems.” Of course the answer is Jesus Christ.

This book is worth reading and using in a study group, especially for parents and youth workers to use in ministering to youth and in other small group settings to train people in knowing how to share the Gospel, clearly and biblically.

Charles Dunahoo pastored churches in Georgia and Alabama before being called to his present position as Coordinator for the PCA of Christian Education and Publications (CEP).

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